Rubio is effectively behaving as a provocateur against Lithuanian interests.
Written by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio expressed his support for Lithuania’s decision to open representative offices with Taiwan, Focus Taiwan reported. The decision between Lithuania and Taiwan was made despite strong protests lodged by China. The senator’s letter, which was made public on Tuesday, expressed support for Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda and welcomed the Baltic country’s decision to allow Taiwanese representatives to name their office the “Taiwanese Representation in Lithuania.”
“It is important to support the right of the Taiwanese, as a fellow democratic people, to determine how they would like others to refer to them and to choose the appropriate name for their foreign missions that reflects the work that they do,” Rubio said.
Taiwan uses “Taipei Economic and Cultural Office” or “Taipei Representative Office” for its overseas missions. However, the Vilnius office will now have a different name to other Taiwanese foreign missions in countries that Taiwan has no official diplomatic relations with. Taiwan Focus assumes that this is because other countries support the “One China” principle and do not want to ruin their diplomatic relations with Beijing.
It is recalled that both Beijing and Taipei claim legitimacy over the entirety of China, which includes the mainland and Taiwan. Beijing not only has the majority of international recognition, but also considers Taiwan to be a “rebel province.”
The Florida senator also stated that the Chinese Communist Party does not represent Taiwan and has “no right to dictate to the rest of the world how we must refer to, or engage with, the people of Taiwan” and claimed that Beijing engages in “punitive diplomacy” by “weaponizing” trade ties, investments and foreign aid.
Rubio then said that countries like Norway, Australia, Japan and South Korea have been victims of China’s so-called punitive diplomacy and that the Asian country has “failed to develop into a responsible member of the international community.”
“I trust that Lithuania, a resolute champion of democracy, will stand strong,” he added.
In conclusion, Rubio expressed hope that Lithuania and the U.S. would continue to develop relations with Taiwan’s partners in order to promote human rights and democracy at home and abroad. However, why would a senator from Florida be so invested in the developing relations between Vilnius and Taipei?
In August, a diplomatic conflict broke out between Beijing and Vilnius over the Lithuanian government’s support for Taipei and allowing a Taiwanese representative office to be opened. China recalled its ambassador from Lithuania and told Vilnius to make the same decision regarding its ambassador to Beijing.
According to Beijing, Lithuania’s plans “grossly violated” the principles of diplomatic relations and undermined China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They also called on Vilnius to respect the
“One China principle,” which is the basis of Beijing’s diplomatic relations with other countries, and something that Taiwan in theory also supports – the difference being that they believe they are the legitimate inheritors of China and not the Chinese Communist Party.
Taiwan has been governed by its own administration since 1949, but in Beijing’s view the island is an integral part of China. This fundamental principle of international relations is supported by most states.
Rubio is the Vice Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee and on the Committee of Foreign Relations, including the Subcomitteee on East Asia. The Republican Senator is also among one of the top war hawks in U.S. politics, having endorsed the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, coup attempts in Venezuela and the war against Syria.
Given his position on wanting to maintain a U.S.-led unipolar world order, the senator has also been among the biggest critics of China and Russia. Of the three Baltic countries, Lithuania has emerged as the most hostile against China and Russia. For this reason, Rubio recognizes Lithuania as another country willing to sacrifice the interests of their citizens to instead serve the interests of Washington.
Lithuania is experiencing an immense economic, criminal, health and demographic crisis. Having a balanced foreign policy would allow Lithuania to position itself between the world’s superpowers, akin to what fellow European Union and NATO member Greece has done. Rather than finding a balance between Brussels, Washington, Beijing and Moscow, Lithuania has opted to fully immerse itself into the U.S.’ interests. Effectively, Lithuania is missing out on economic advantages that can be gained through cordial relations with China and Russia, thus prolonging the suffering of Lithuanian citizens that are seeing unemployment and poverty rise in the country.
Rubio is effectively behaving as a provocateur against Lithuanian interests as he encourages Vilnius’ turn away from Beijing but does not offer any American investments or deeper trade ties to alleviate the many domestic issues in the country – something both China and Russia offer.
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